By Lisa Shrewsberry
Who says there’s no accounting for taste? Three hundred-thousand home chefs faithful to any of the 300 annual Taste of Home Cooking Schools held across America will join once again this year to hone their culinary skills in time for the holidays.
One show location is the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center, where on Nov. 7 beginning at 4:30 p.m. doors open to an arena of tasteful temptations for seasonal family get-togethers. In addition to recipe box redoes from Taste of Home Culinary Specialist Cheryl Cohen, guests at this year’s Gutter Pro-sponsored event are in store for bigger and more valuable giveaways than ever, explains show coordinator Ann Kelly.
“Inside the Chick-Fil-A goodie bags alone, visitors will get their Taste of Home magazines, vendor and national sponsor coupons and a full-sized jar of Jif Hazelnut Spread,” she states. Tastings in-the-round include Chick-Fil-A, Sam’s Club and ticket sponsor Dickey’s Barbecue, whose general admission passes double as free barbecue sandwich (with drink purchase) coupons. Kelly has worked with vendors to plan drawings both valuable and practical to punctuate the evening. The most anticipated Grand Prize is a dinette set from Grand Home Furnishings; Grand Home is also sponsoring the popular “Best Seat in the House” recliner giveaway and front-and-center seating. Also among the drawings are five free interment spaces valued at up to $1,100 each from vendor Sunset Memorial Park.
Each of a limited number of VIP ticketholders will receive the hardback newest recipe collection along with reserved up-close-and-personal seating for the 6:30 p.m. cooking demonstration.
“From experienced home chefs to beginners learning their way around the kitchen, the Taste of Home Cooking School offers something for everyone — putting a fresh spin on old favorites and adding new recipes to your seasonal repertoire,” said Cohen, a familiar face on the Beckley show’s stage. Cohen will interactively prepare Spinach Stuffed Chicken Pockets as one of several recipes in a line-up for all attendees to witness. She’ll use appliances by sponsor Sears and fresh, uncomplicated ingredients from Kroger at Beckley Crossing, all of which showgoers can easily add to their grocery lists for post-event preparations. “With their creamy filling and delightful crispy crust, these elegant entrees are easy enough for weeknights, yet special enough for company, too,” Cohen said.
Tickets are on sale now for this special taste of fall event from Taste of Home. VIP tickets are $40 each and are going fast, says Kelly. General admission is $15. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling 304-255-4409 or picked up in person at Beckley Newspapers offices, 801 N. Kanawha St., Beckley.
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Tickets: VIP tickets are $40. General admission is $15. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased in advance by calling 304-255-4409 or picked up in person at Beckley Newspapers,
801 N. Kanawha St., Beckley.
Taste of Home Cooking School
Shop Taste of Home (www.shoptasteofhome.com)
Local show sponsors
Grand Home Furnishings
Kroger (Beckley Crossing)
Sears (Crossroads Mall)
Hometown Subaru Kia
Apple-Brined Chicken Thighs
Makes 5 servings.
3 cups apple cider or juice
1 medium onion,sliced
1 medium lemon,sliced
4 fresh rosemarysprigs
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup packedbrown sugar,divided
4 garlic cloves,minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
2 cups cold water
10 bone-in chickenthighs (about 3-3/4 pounds)
1 2-gallon resealable plastic bag
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
3 medium tart apples, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 tablespoon California Olive Ranch® Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a Dutch oven, combine the cider, onion, lemon, rosemary sprigs, salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until salt and brown sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat; stir in water. Cool brine to room temperature.
Place chicken in the 2-gallon resealable plastic bag. Carefully pour cooled brine into bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible; seal bag and turn to coat. Place in a roasting pan. Refrigerate for 2 hours, turning occasionally.
Place beans and apples in a greased roasting pan. Drain chicken; place in prepared pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 40 minutes.
Combine the minced rosemary, oil, pepper and remaining brown sugar; sprinkle over chicken. Bake 15-25 minutes longer or until a thermometer reads 180° and beans are tender.
Originally published as Apple-Brined Chicken Thighs in Taste of Home June/July 2010, p53
Cashew-Pear Tossed Salad
Makes 15 servings.
1 bunch romaine, torn
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup salted cashews
1 medium pear, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Poppy Seed Vinaigrette:
2/3 cup California Olive Ranch® Olive Oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 to 3 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large salad bowl, combine the romaine, cheese, cashews, pear and cranberries. In a small bowl, whisk the vinaigrette ingredients. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat.
Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip
Makes 2 cups.
1 jar (6-1/2 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Colby/Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon Creole seasoning*
Vegetables, tortilla chips or crackers
In a skillet, saute artichokes and onion in butter until onion is tender. Stir in spinach and Parmesan cheese; cook over low heat until spinach is heated through. Add Colby/Monterey Jack cheese, milk and Creole seasoning; heat until cheese is melted. Serve immediately with vegetables, tortilla chips or crackers.
*Editor’s Note: The following spices may be substituted for 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning: 1/4 teaspoon each salt, garlic powder and paprika; and a pinch each of dried thyme, ground cumin and cayenne pepper.
Originally published as Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip in Taste of Home February/March 2001, p66
Frothy Mexi-Mocha Coffee
Makes 4 servings.
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 orange peel strips (1 to 3 inches)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3 cups hot strong- brewed coffee
1/2 cup half-and-half cream, warmed
cinnamon sticks, orange peel and whipped cream
Place the first five ingredients in a blender; cover and process until chocolate is finely chopped. Add coffee; cover and process for 1-2 minutes or until chocolate is melted. Transfer to a small saucepan; heat through.
Return mixture to blender; add cream. Cover and process until frothy. Strain, discarding solids; serve in mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, orange peel and whipped cream if desired.
Originally published as Frothy Mexi-Mocha Coffee in Taste of Home April/May 2010, p77
Makes about 6 dozen.
12 whole graham crackers
2 cups miniature marshmallows
3/4 cup butter, cubed
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup flaked coconut
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 15x10x1-in. baking pan with foil, letting foil extend over sides by 1 inch; lightly coat foil with cooking spray. Arrange graham crackers in prepared pan; sprinkle with marshmallows.
In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and cinnamon; cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
Spoon butter mixture over marshmallows. Sprinkle with almonds and coconut. Bake 14-16 minutes or until browned. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Using foil, lift cookies out of pan. Cut into triangles; discard foil.
Originally published as Caramel Heavenlies in Taste of Home December/January 1997, p27